How to Properly Diagnose Your Lower Back Pain

Herniated Disc. Pinched Nerve. Bulging Disc. If you suffer from low back pain, there’s a good chance you’ve heard any one of these terms used to describe your issue. Unfortunately, this use of interchangeable terms is likely not going to go away any time soon, so as a patient it is important for you to understand what it takes to come to a more specific diagnosis of your lower back pain.

Below are three key steps you should always take in finding a specific diagnosis.

1. Pinpointing Your Pain – Before seeking out a diagnosis, begin by really focusing on where the pain stems from and what all of the symptoms related to it are. Generalizing your pain as just low back pain does not provide enough specifics. Determine if the pain is centrally located and remains in one spot or if it radiates to other parts of your body. Once you have determined this, you will be better equipped to provide specific details to your doctor, helping to aid in a more specific diagnosis.

2. Undergoing Diagnostics – Prior to formulating a diagnosis, your doctor should perform a few key steps. First, the doctor should perform a physical examination. Next, he or she should review specific symptoms discovered during the physical examination and in discussions with you. Finally, he or she should review your entire medical history.

3. Testing – After following the steps above, further diagnostic testing may be needed. There are various diagnostic tests, such as CT scans and MRI scans, which can further determine specific details of your issues. While these tests can help to determine things such as the location of injury, they should not be the first action taken or solely used to develop a diagnosis. The findings of these tests should hopefully reflect the findings from the physical examination and discussions.

This process may seem simple enough, but many times it may not be given the attention it deserves. Without proper procedure, a specific ailment could be generalized as a more overarching issue. When you’re seeking medical attention, be sure each of the above steps are followed.